SC stays HC order on MoEF's failure to publish notification in multiple languages

·2-min read
The Supreme Court of India (File Photo)
The Supreme Court of India (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], Aug 13 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Delhi High Court order of contempt of court proceedings against Environment, Forest & Climate Change Ministry, for allegedly failing to publish draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification in multiple regional languages, besides English and Hindi.
A three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, suggested that the Center should amend the Official languages rules which say official publication is only in English and Hindi.
The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday issued notice to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on a petition seeking contempt proceedings against it for the alleged "wilful disobedience" of a court order to publish the translated versions of the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification in all 22 languages of the Eighth Schedule.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva had asked the ministry to file a reply and listed the matter for further hearing on August 17.
The contempt plea, filed by environmentalist Vikrant Tongad through his advocate Vanshdeep Dalmia, alleged that the ministry neither published the translated versions of the draft EIA nor sought more time from the court on this regard.
"Initiate proceedings of contempt against the respondent and pass appropriate directions and orders punishing and penalising the respondents jointly and/or severally for wilful disobedience and deliberate defiance of the order dated June 30, 2020, passed by this court," the plea said.
The High Court had earlier extended the time granted to the general public to give their suggestions for the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 till August 11.
The court had observed that there was ambiguity in the notification dated May 8 which extended the time limit to give the common public its suggestion for draft notification and also opined that the proposed notification should be translated into other languages too for effective dissemination.
It had noted that such translation may be undertaken by the Government of India itself, or with the assistance of the respective state governments, where applicable.
The court had, on June 30, directed that translations should also be published through the website of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India as well as on websites of Environment Ministries of all the States as well as those of State Pollution Control Boards, within ten days from the day of the order. (ANI)